Justin Vought is used to winning. His high school team was in the state finals in 2015 and he has been a state champion in two of his three seasons playing legion ball.
The catcher from Wyoming Valley West High School in Pennsylvania is looking to bring his winning ways to Maryland now that he is officially one of 10 signees for the Terps’ Class of 2017.
Can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for me, officially became apart of the @TerpsBaseball family today 🐢⚾️ pic.twitter.com/WkYik1g696
— Justin Vought (@jvote4) November 9, 2016
“I’ve been in some pretty big situations my whole career,” Vought said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some winning teams with some good players around me that I’ve been able to learn from. They just push me even harder.”
One of those players is St. John’s University catcher Ryan Hogan, who was one of Vought’s closest friends and teammates in high school.
“Ryan and I have been close friends since little league,” Vought reflected. “He’s been the big brother I never wanted, to be honest with you.”
Since both Vought and Hogan play the same position, they were able to communicate thoroughly about the intricacies of playing catcher.
“He’s been a year ahead of me so I’ve always been the little guy to everybody,” Vought said. “That just pushed me to work that much harder to be just as good, if not better, than he is.”
Although they have talked plenty about how to call a game from behind the plate and the approach of a hitter, Hogan said that his favorite part of having Vought as a teammate was the passion with which he played the game.
“He loves the game, that’s one thing you could say about him,” Hogan said. “He’s very strong with his skills and his abilities, but I think what really harnesses those things is the fact that he likes to work. To get to the level that we’re at it takes a lot of work on and off the field. He definitely puts it in.”
Hogan, who won three state titles during his time at Wyoming Valley West High School, agreed that winning is a huge reason why Vought will succeed at Maryland.
“We’re pretty used to the tradition of going out there and having excellence on the field,” Hogan said. “I can see why he wants to carry that on at Maryland. It’s not surprising that he chose that path.”
However, past success is not the only reason why Vought will put on the red, black and gold in 2017. He wants to help the Terps winning ways carry on to the future.
“A lot of people who I talked to said once you step on the campus, your first time there, you’re really going to feel like it’s going to be home for the next four years,” Vought said. “Once [Associate Head Coach Rob] Vaughn and [Head Coach John] Szefc started reaching out to me… it felt like home — especially coming off back-to-back super regionals.
“They felt like my second fathers for the next four years and I really want to help those guys get the next step to reach — to get to Omaha,” he said.
Hogan, who has spent countless hours in the dugout, the weight room and on the field with Vought, has no doubt that he’ll blend into the Maryland program well immediately.
“Ryan’s a really good kid. You get a lot of kids who come into school and all they care about is baseball,” he said. “Sometimes their personality lacks and sometimes they’re not good teammates. He meets those standards… He carries that excellence off the field as well as on the field.”